Out of all the Chinese kung fu styles wing chun has been the most popularized, mainly due to the face it was the style that was immortalized by the legendary Bruce Lee. It was designed for simplicity, economy of moment and for all body shapes, types with no discrimination. Legend has it that it is a composite of many ancient martial arts that derived their styles from the main animal forms. The overtly flowery showy more-exaggerated movements made way for direct precision striking and economy of movement -to make your strike. In essence wing chin was meant to kill.
That is why out of the whole system there are essentially three open hand forms- 2 weapon forms and of course the wooden dummy sequence. With a special mention to the chisau sticking hands training (a personal favourite of mind)
There are many variations of how these forms are spelled and pronounced, so I will go by what I was taught.
1st form is the Sl lim tau or little idea form. This is the basic foundation of the system. The beauty and design of the wing chin training system is that it very basic and not at all visually spectacular as a demonstration like you see in the kung fu movies –
However as a practitioner each move learned opens up another door of possibilities as the system slowly uncovers its secrets. The simple principle such as the centre line theory vs the central line theory. The correct stance & posture, the distribution of weight and also having the correct energy in your arms and legs. And most of all timing.
That is why the Sil Lim tau form is often called the soft or internal version of wing chun training as its focus is on concentration of the form rather than brute strength -which is one of not the core philosophies of the the wing chun system.
Within this form all the offensive & defensive principles are taught. From the positioning of the hands for where concepts such as fut sao, garn sao are introduced. This is part of the arsenal that will remain with you throughout your wing chun journey.
The next form is Chum Kill- or bridging the gap form. This is the next form which incorporates greater movements and introduces coordination into the system, This is where another concepts is further explored. The concept of 2 hand independent co-ordination. Where both hands are used independent of each other in their movement. Sounds confusing-? Well it can be. Think along the line of a simultaneous defensive & attacking strike and you begin to learn how effective Wing Chun can be.
This role of footwork is expanded in chum kill and that is also one of the keys to the wing chun training system. The ideas are planted in the initial stages and then grown and incorporated into the system as you progress. In essence they are all systems brought from one single concept or idea (hence the name title idea form-Sil Lim Tau Form).
The final most advance form is Bill Jee. or Finger striking form. This is by far the most demanding and difficult form as it incorporates greater degree of discipline and is much more dynamic in its movement and requires a certain amount of conditioning. Indeed any wing chun student should work to complete this form with a sense of control and force that should do it justice ..rather than following the steps and movements do the form it requires precision, and INTENTION for its success..
The basis of this form was to deliver fatal strikes to opponents. For advanced students trying to master this form can be taken much further. It can be a system all itself.
Legend has it that it was rarely taught in older times, however in our westernized culture where we want it all and now–it has made its way to the mainstream, m Much to the chagrin of the old Chinese teachers.
There is a lot to learn about the wing chun system and this is barely a brief overview, however it is a great journey that can take a lifetime to master. For me the main attraction and what I get out of this system are the training methods. They are fun and very easy to learn. However the biggest revelation to come out of Wing chun, I discovered, was that there where different styles of wing chun training techniques-traditional and modified. The story behind how this came about is as intriguing and as old as China itself and its ramifications enormous –especially as it relates your Wing Chun training.
Below are some resources you may also enjoy
- Chum Kiu – Searching the Bridge – Some things to ponder while you train your Chum Kiu form from Wing Chun: Chum Kiu the second form in the Wing Chun system is both simple and complex in theory and in physical application. Chum Kiu moves the Wing Chun practitioner from …
- Wing Chun History | Dan’s Muay Thai MMA – Four hundred years ago, there lived a man named Yim Say Koan who had trained for many years in the Shaolin Temple. His bean cake store was the means by which he supported his only child, a girl, named Yim Wing Chun. Yim started his daughter training in the martial arts under his tutelage while she was still very young.
- All About Chi Sau – Skills for Close Range Combat Chi Sau, or ‘Sticking Hands’, is a Wing Chun training exercise designed to develop close range combat skills. In close range combat, your ability to see an incoming strike a punch and react by reflex is …